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How 'Matrix' star Carrie-Anne Moss has been transformed by motherhood

How 'Matrix' star Carrie-Anne Moss has been transformed by motherhood
Actress Carrie-Anne Moss talks about motherhood. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Actress Carrie-Anne Moss battled to free humanity from evil machines in the "Matrix" trilogy,traveled to Mars in "The Red Planet" and allied herself with a troubled superhero in the Netflix TV series "Marvel's Jessica Jones."

But these challenges pale in comparison to the real-life raising of three children, ages 7 to 12.

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And Moss has some advice for women who are feeling disconnected from themselves and even from their children.

"I had my children, fell in love with mothering, yet couldn't find what I was looking for in terms of support or community," Moss said. "It felt isolating. I couldn't find 'my people.' "

She's reaching out to other mothers who may feel that same sense of  isolation through her lifestyle website, AnnapurnaLiving.com. There, she and parenting coach Natalie Christensen are hosting a four-week course, "Mother," aimed at cultivating "intimacy, self-discovery and connection." (Cost: $199.)

We asked Moss, 48, to share some of the lessons she learned. One thing she won't share? Overly specific advice.

"There is so much conflicting advice for mothers," Moss said. "Women finding out what works for them is the most important aspect. For me, being connected to myself helps me make decisions better to take care of my children."

Meditation, even just a few minutes' worth, is an important part of creating that connection.

Moss said society likes to sell mothers on a certain school, house or marriage and make women run in circles while never connecting to the truth of who they are. Her advice is not about a life overhaul, but rather gaining personal insight and deciding who you're going to be in any specific moment.

And atypical to Hollywood, vanity doesn't motivate her. Self-care does.

"Self care is so much more than a beauty regimen or an external thing you do," she said. "It has to start within your heart to know what you need to navigate your life. A pedicure doesn't last, but meditating every day does."

And while she doesn't offer workout regimens,  she is an advocate of regular exercise.

"Feeling strong is important, and to feel in your body is a vital part of being a woman,  regardless of whether you're a mother or not." Moss does yoga daily, mostly at home. "I'll occasionally go to an exercise class," she said. She likes to go for walks in nature, a habit she picked up when her children were babies and she'd take them in a carrier.

And her children have always known her as an active mom. "Everything we do models for our children, good and bad," she said. "They see me on the treadmill, and when I did Pilates to get in shape for a job, I'd bring my kids when they were babies and was holding onto them while working out.

"I no longer work out with the goal of attaining a particular type of body. It's more about breathing and sweating and having that experience and endorphins to boost mood."

Beyond that, Moss wants to help women dial things down.

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"I live in L.A., have three kids and work as an actress. There is so much intensity, and so many of us are gunning it pedal to the metal all the time." She spoke of driving kids to baseball and soccer practice: "Am I going to be full of anxiety or am I going to enjoy the journey and being with my children? I don't want them to remember their mom was always stressed out."

Moss' overarching advice for her fellow mothers is this: By being more compassionate and empathetic toward yourself, you become better at connecting with others, including your children.

Fell is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of bodyforwife.com

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